“Where words fail, music speaks.” — Hans Christian Anderson
Beauty. It transports us. It inspires us. It takes our breath away when we let it. It captures us… when we yield to it.
Harry Haller in Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf was a troubled man who felt himself a misfit, ill-suited for the world of everyday, regular people. The one place where he felt a deliverance from this discomfort was at the concert hall where he found himself lifted, by beauty, beyond the cares of this world. Music served as a form of salvation.
I’ve known that feeling, the power of music. Like Harry Haller, the sweet strains of anguished beauty have also transported me, at times, enabled me to forget the cares of this world. For this reason I offer you here some of the music I’ve found comforting, soul-soothing, uplifting, nourishing. The links will take you to YouTube videos that you may enjoy as time permits in this harried age in which we live.
1. Air on the G-String, Johannes Bach
This YouTube video has had over 50 million views, a tribute to the enduring legacy of Johannes Bach. This is not my favorite version, however. The version that most transports me is a solo piano version played by Henry Wiens. His CD Quiet Classics can be found on CD Baby. Hear a brief sample here.
2. Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, №4, Frédéric Chopin
When I heard this piece of music in the film Five Easy Pieces it spoke to me, as did all things Chopin. French novelist George Sand once wrote that she considered the beauty of Chopin’s music to be evidence that there was a God. I took two and a half years of piano lessons and learned a number of simplified versions of his music when I was young. When I saw the film again in the 90s I bought the sheet music and worked at learning it. The chord progressions are marvelous, the lingering pace that makes you ache… words fail again.
3. On Earth As It Is In Heaven, Ennio Morricone
This is a live performance of the Theme from The Mission. It elevates me like almost nothing else. The Italian composer began his career playing jazz trumpet. He has produced music for over 500 films and television programs as well as 100 scores of classical music. He’s been nominated for seven…